By Bunmi Sofola
Taiwo, a 32-year-old medical doctor had finally found a girl he thought he could spend the rest of his life with. Tinuola was a chartered accountant and he could feel and see the genuineness of her love. She virtually worshipped the earth Taiwo walked on. She was definitely the one and he arranged for his parents to meet with her, give their stamp of approval and agree on a suitable day for the wedding.
“Then my mother took over,” recalled Taiwo sadly. “Because she came from a royal family in a village, she thought she was of impeccable pedigree. First, she wanted to know if my girl’s family was rich. I told her they were not exactly what you would call poor.
Had I properly investigated the family? Well, what was there to investigate? This was not the dark ages for heaven’s sake! She in turn decided to pay a visit to Tinuola’s family with dad so as to get to know them better. As Likeable as dad is, he’s always dancing to my mother’s whims simply because she’d used her family connections to get him where he is today. What he didn’t realise is that he would have fallen on his face if he wasn’t a competent engineer.
“To cut a long story short, I took them to Tinuola’s family. It was a long trip from our Ikoyi residence to the Akowonjo area where the family lived. As we arrived, my mother turned up her nose at the modest bungalow they lived in. I told her it was not a rented house, that the father owned the property. But my other snorted and dad looked uncomfortable. When we went in, there were some members of Tinuola’s family around. The poor girl’s mother had bent over backwards to make us feel welcome, with mouth-watering spreads on the dining table. But the way mother carried on, you would think she was being forced to get some horribly prepared buka food.
“We’d hardly got back into the car when mum started. Did I see the strength of the family? Wouldn’t all my hard earned money go into helping them better their lot when we get married, especially since Tinuola was the first child and most of her siblings still in school? She noted she didn’t see any car parked in front of their house, and wanted to know what both parents did for a living. I was really losing my patience at her snootiness. I told her emphatically I would get married to the girl and there was nothing any of them could do to discourage me.
“In the weeks that followed, my mother really put on the pressure. She’d investigated Tinuola’s family and dug up skeletons that would scarcely raise an eyebrow. She was so hostile to the poor girl whenever she visited that in the end she told me she was no longer interested in my marriage proposal. No matter how hard I stood up to my mother, she said she strongly believed that mum would eventually drive us apart. She said she wasn’t particularly fond of my mother either and she would rather end things now than have a broken marriage.
“I pleaded with her but she stuck to her guns. I knew her decision must have cost her dearly as she genuinely loved me.
“I was so mad with what my mother did that when I found a job that offered accommodation, I took it. I didn’t go visiting as often as my parents would wish. When I heard Tinuola was getting married a couple of years after we broke up, I went to the wedding even though I wasn’t invited and wished her luck. I gave the couple an impressive present and told Tinuola’s husband he was a very lucky man. I was almost 35 when I was able to take another woman home to meet6 my parents. I called to tell them I was on my way with my wife and was invited for lunch. After a hearty meal. Mother was her inquisitive self all over again. Who was my new girl and when did we intend to get married? I smiled triumphantly at her and said: `I called to tell you I was bringing home my wife. Well, here she is. We got married at the registry last week and she’s now my legal wife!’ My mother nearly burst an artery!
“How could I get married without involving the family? I reminded her that the first time I did just that, she threw so many spanners in the works that the whole thing fizzled out. I was 35 and no longer a child. What was more, my wife was pregnant. That if it was any consolation to her, my wife’s family aren’t please either, so we have decided on an elaborate traditional engagement party to appease both families.
“The look dad gave me was a proud one. My mother quickly recovered from her shock when she realised there was still room for a social bash. As we left, I almost felt sorry for robbing her of the glamour of organising a proper wedding but after the humiliation she made me suffer with Tinuola and the nervous wreck I became later on, I thought I should take my own pound of flesh. Let her see how painful it could be to set your hopes on getting something you really cherish, only for it to be snatched from you just when you thought you had a good grip!”
What men should avoid when discussing with their partners
No matter how flippant a man is about his relationship, there are some sore points he shouldn’t even go near. Clowning around at his girl’s expense is no laughing matter. Before you make your next gaff with your beau, check out these suggested off-limits material.
Your Old Girlfriend: Your ex had a few redeeming qualities, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean your current flame wants to hear about them. In fact, an innocent comment about your ex’s culinary skills or love of football could give your girls a serious complex.
“When you kid about something a past partner did well, or go on and on about a stand out attribute she hadn’t, it plants a seed in your present girlfriend’s head that she doesn’t measure up to this amazing super woman”, says Robbica Reid, author of Clueless: Real Solution for Men Who don’t Get it – and the Women who love them.
Her Body: Let’s give the man credit here. Obviously, he’s not clueless enough to poke his babe’s belly and let out a nasty giggle. But what he might not realise is that critiquing her eating habits (“You want another toast with that butter?”) is the equivalent of making a fat joke. If you tease a woman about how much or what she’s eating, she may view your interest as a comment on her weight. She may worry that you thin she is over weight and needs to diet.
Her Sex Drive: Chances are, a man’s little bed devil is usually up for a heavy roll in the hay. So, when she takes the occasional rain check without his prompting, he may think it’s cool to crack on her. It’s not. “A woman will often interpret a light-hearted dig about her libido as a comment on her man’s overall satisfaction with his current sex life””, explains Reid.
Her Mother: Those old school playground rules still apply in adulthood. You can’t go bad mouthing anyone’s mama. Even if the woman is a dragon and deserves it, a man is not allowed to poke fun at her.